Action – Dec 2 – Rutgers Recruiting Session Falls Apart
Two stories on counter-recruitment action with non-violent civil disobedience at Rutgers.
Dec 2nd Rutgers Counter Recruitment Event
By Ian Chinich
Friday, Dec 2nd, Rutgers Against the War (RAW), Anti-Racist Action, and Rutgers Student Union planned an action to disrupt an event designed to target language students, entitled “government work” for linguists. A “linguistic recruiter” (with the title of sergeant) was going to present students with career options at the Defense Attaché Service, CIA, FBI, NSA, and other intelligence services. But a surprise was in store for the language students as well as the activists: the army showed up.
At 3pm several members had infiltrated the event. Ten minutes into the presentation, 4 people started chanting “The real terrorists in the world today are the FBI and the CIA.” They then began listing different kinds of torture methods utilized by American interrogators such as waterboarding, reverse hanging, mock drowning, and electrical shocks and asked whether those counted as torture. The army recruiter was stunned. His mouth dropped and he was speechless for several seconds. The recruiters looked at each other and shrugged. They let this go on for a minute before sending someone to get the police. By then two of the chanters had left along with several other students. The other two chanters stayed for 5 minutes before the police were able to show up. One of the recruiters had tried grabbing a chanter, but he was not to be removed. The two clasped arms and were summarily arrested. One girl in the audience repeatedly asked the police why they were arresting them rather than forcing them to leave. A maintenance worker began yelling for beatings and mace. (a complaint is going to be filed against him)
The recruiters decided to skip ahead through the CIA part rather than explaining it in detail. They then arrived at army section. Another member who had been sitting quietly in the room began chanting “Torture is torture in any language!” He then quickly left before the police came back. A minute later they resumed the presentation. The first topic on the slide was interrogations. The recruiter looked at his friend with the projector and then shrugged and said “Interrogations….um well yeah you know” and then tried to continue down the slide. Immediately after this comment, six people who had been stationed outside began chanting “the real terrorists in the world today are the FBI and the CIA” over and over again. Once again, the recruiter was dumbfounded. He waited for a while, but the chanters didn’t leave, so he got someone to close the door and tried talking over the noise. It didn’t end up working very well so he said, “I guess Ill just leave this up for questions.”
One girl asked “So if I wanted to do embassy work, which one of you would I talk to?” The man answered back, “We are all army recruiters, so no one here, but we could get you the information you want.” This comment surprised many people in the audience. Another girl asked “Wait….so you guys are all here for the army?” This seemed to show the general mood and several people walked out feeling like they had been tricked. The last two members who had been planted to ask tough questions didn’t get a chance because no one asked any and many people had left in disgust.
Back at the police station, a Targum (Rutgers School Paper) reporter came to talk to the people waiting for their friends to be released. She said that she had been in the room the whole time and wanted to know who they were and why they did it. After giving details, she left and the two detainees were released. Charged with disorderly conduct, their hearing is scheduled for December 14.
Two Arrested @ CIA / Army Recruitment
Meeting and Rutgers University
Two Arrested as CIA / Army Recruitment Meeting at Rutgers University
Disrupted by Wobblies, Members of Rutgers Against the War (Campus Antiwar Network) and Members of Anti-Racist Action.
Army Recruiters Give Up Their Bait & Switch Effort in Frustration;
Students RaiseQuestion About CIA Torture Camps.
Staff Sergeant Christopher Sharp, Station Commander at an Army
recruitment center in North Brunswick, NJ, expected his December 2,
2005 recruitment presention at RutgersUniversity to go smoothly.
He and four other Army recruiters had dressed in suits and ties for
the power point presentation, aimed to recruit college students who
were native speakers of Arabic,Korean or Chinese for work as
translators and interrogators. The gathering had been billed as a
general interest meeting for language majors about carreer
opportunities with a number of federal agencies, including the FBI,
CIA, NSA, Defense Department, DEA and State Department, but the
headlining government recruiter, Tanya West, was
not even present. Replacing her were five to six Army recruiters.
As Room 104 of the language lab on the College Avenue campus filled
up with 40 to 50 students, the recruiters began their presentation at 3:00 pm.
After five to ten minutes, a loud and spirited chant broke out from
five spectators in at the back of the room: “Secret prisons, secret
flights, the CIA tramples human rights; reverse hanging, what gives?
If that’s not torture, what the fuck is?”
The lead recruiter’s jaw dropped open in surprise as the emphasis of
the meeting immediately shifted and for the first minute or so of
sustained chanting, recruiters had no idea what to do.
Outside the room, other protesters took out signs and began shouting
from the hallway. One recruiter informed those protesting inside Room
104 that police were being called. Three activists left the room at that point.
Two remained to continue chanting and halt the meeting for another twenty to
twenty-five minutes. “The real terrorists in the world today, are the
FBI and the CIA! From Abu Ghraib to Gitmo Bay, CIA torture leads the way!”
Staff Sgt. Sharp had his own idea on how to deal with the situation.
He walked to the back of the room, toward the remaining protesters,
intent on removing them by force.
The two sat down as he approached and linked arms. Staff Sgt. Sharp
then began tugging on the unlinked left arm of one protester,
engaging in a brief and futile tug of war that got him admonished by
a superior officer.
Around 3:40 pm, Rutgers police arrived. The activists, still
chanting, stood and unlinked their arms. Police asked them if they
would leave at this point. The two continued chanting and were
arrested without resisting. As RUPD Officer Ganzer slapped on
handcuffs and escorted the two men out of the room, the pair kept
chanting loudly, denouncing torture and the war.
After their exit, the meeting resumed, but was clearly thrown into disarray.
Recruiters mentioned, then completely skipped the section they had
prepared on the CIA. Other activists were in the audience with
prepared questions, but other students began asking the recruiters
pointed questions themselves, without prompting.
Apparently, many students were under the mistaken impression that it was a
recruitment meeting for all branches of the federal government. A
German language major asked about a possible job as EU liason
assistant with the State Department.
Recruiters replied to her question by stating they had no idea about
that; they were Army recruiters. Finding this out, more than half of
the remaining students in the audience left.
The presentation quickly ended having reached its time limit.
Rey Robles, 18, and Tom Howard, 27, are being charged with a petty
disorderly persons offence for disrupting a public meeting.
Their first hearing is December 14, 2005 at 8:45 am at the New
Brunswick Municipal Court.
[NEW BRUNSWICK MUNICIPAL COURT, 25 KIRKPATRICK ST, PO BOX 265, NEW
BRUNSWICK, NJ, (732) 745-5089
Solidarity is requested, both for the defendants and to keep war
resistance nice and toasty going into the cold winter. Come out and